3.13.2013

Finding a Source for Grassfed Meat

When we started eating lots of grassfed beef and butter, we had learned about the health advantages of eating grassfed animals (even years ago, in books like The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan). So my wife and I decided we needed to take the plunge and buy a cow share from a local farm! In Oregon it's very easy to find a small farm who will sell you a share of a cow, and often you can even choose how the butcher processes it--like if you'd like more ground beef or more roasts or whatever your specifications.

Buying Local Grassfed Meat

We found several grassfed beef farms on EatWild.com for our area, and first tried Kookoolan Farms in Yamhill since they were the only one that had a share available right away. (We also want to try Mossback Farm this summer when their next beef are ready). Here's a description of what Kookoolan does, from their website:

       We are a grass-based farm with all naturally-raised, no hormones, no antibiotics, humanely raised  and slaughtered food animals. Grass-fed lamb and beef are also available at the farm and have free, unfettered access to never-sprayed grass pasture 365 days a year (although we don't force them out of the barns in severe weather!).

We had some previous experience with this farm because my parents have purchased from them before, and after doing some research on our options it seemed like the best bet for now. They go to great lengths to ensure the health of the animals and the cleanliness of their processing, and they even will hold off on killing the animal if it's exhibiting any signs of stress. This practice ensures that the animal hasn't released stress hormones which get trapped in the meat at the time of slaughter. It's explained on the site that if the animal is running around in fear:

       The animal is loaded with adrenaline and stress hormones, and the meat is loaded with lactic acid, and no matter how well the animal was raised or how carefully the meat is processed, it’s going to be tough and taste terrible. The only responsible action is to reschedule the kill for a different day...

We were excited to try this for the first time, so we ordered an 1/8th of a cow (the smallest share available), which included a bunch of ground beef, rib steaks, short ribs, and stew meat. We could have paid more for a share that included more choice cuts, but we were fine starting out with more ground beef.  Once the share had been set aside we drove out to the farm and picked it up!


We've been eating it now for the past month or so, and it's proving to be a great investment. Not only do we have meat on hand whenever we need it (we just take a pound or two out of the freezer) but it's clearly a really high quality. The taste is great and my wife and I have been enjoying using it to make all kinds of paleo recipes.

We visited the farm in January, on a snowy evening--here's the view from the farm store: 

And here's a shot from their website:


So definitely check them out if you're in the Portland area! The experience has been fun, educational and it's great knowing we have quality beef on hand and that we're able to support a local farm!

How to Buy Part of a Cow from a Farm!

If you're interested in finding local grassfed beef near you, look at EatWild.com and search your area. It's really not hard to find quality local pastured meat and buy directly from a farm--most of the places we emailed got back to us right away with more info and will help you pick from their packages.

We also found some great resources online about how to buy a cow share--check out this guide of FAQs about using custom slaughter from the OSU Extension Service and this Beef and Pork Whole Animal Buying Guide from the Iowa State University Extension Service. And, consult your favorite grassfed meat cookbook on what to do with all those cuts. (We love these:

5 comments:

  1. I've been interested in buying part of a cow for a while. I wish we had more freezer space.... but, maybe soon and it doesn't mean we can go in with others and buy a share. I really enjoyed learning a lot about grass fed beef and using ALL of the cow when I visited Urban Farmer. You'd totally be interested in their practices! BTW- love the blog design!

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  2. Thanks a lot! Urban farmer is definitely a really cool place. The fact that they have Wagyu beef is so awesome. Super expensive though... :)

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  3. Thanks a lot! Urban farmer is definitely a really cool place. The fact that they have Wagyu beef is so awesome. Super expensive though... :)

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  5. Having a freezer full of well raised meats does make meal planning easier, just buy your sides and a few other things at the store and you're set for the week! For those of you who don't have the access to a local source for your grass fed meats, you can shop online at www.toplinefoods.com and they'll ship to your home!

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